Making Managing Your Diabetes a Priority
My life is very full right now. That's putting a positive spin on the fact that recently I've been struggling to find balance in my life. The basic issue is that I'm in the middle of busy season at work (I'm the administrator for a tax department) and putting in 50-55 hour weeks.
When I'm not at work or trying to get work done from home, I spend as much time as possible with Sienna. Then, there are meals to prepare, exercise to fit in, and generally mommy duties that take up much of my evenings, not to mention nurturing my relationship with my husband, and other family and friends. While discussing this balance (or lack thereof) with Dennis one afternoon, I explained that my family was always my top priority. Work also ranks pretty high on my priority list. After those two big things, there are other activities I'm devoted to, like cooking healthy, homemade meals, exercising regularly, and reading a bit each day.
After listing all of these priorities in my life, I stopped and said, "Where does my diabetes fall on this list?"
When I was pregnant, my blood sugar control and diabetes maintenance was the number one priority. Everything revolved around keeping my blood sugars steady, so that the baby would develop healthfully and normally. After Sienna was born, diabetes dropped out of the number one position as my new baby daughter became the focus on my attention. As I look to the near future, I'm well aware that diabetes control has to again become a major focus as I prepare my body for a second child.
Obviously, like many things, the importance of my diabetes control ebbs and flows through various phases of my life. However, philosophically, the question still nagged at me, "Where should diabetes fall on my priority list?"
In order for me to devote energy to my family, work, exercise, and hobbies, doesn't my diabetes have to be taken care of first? In that sense, diabetes is always my first priority. Perhaps because of my fairly tight control, I actually have the luxury of questioning this issue, since my diabetes rarely keeps me from doing the things I want to do. However, I've experienced very high and very low blood sugars that are debilitating for several minutes or longer. In those instances, diabetes control is my only priority and must be dealt with immediately.
The more I thought about it, the answer seemed to be that diabetes is the top priority, ultimately, but that I can find ways to efficiently control my blood sugar without taking up too much time in my daily life. This way, I can focus on the other things that fulfill my life. Here are the top three ways that I make diabetes a priority without spending too much time:
1.) Test often. The more often I test my blood, the better information I have to administer insulin and decide what to eat. By testing at least 10 times per day, I can head-off highs and lows before they become serious, thus eliminating long periods of time chasing down highs or eating to correct lows. Testing my blood takes about 30 seconds total, so for 5 minutes out of my day, I can do a lot to keep my blood sugar stable and my diabetes from altering my plans.
2.) Use an insulin pump. My insulin pump allows for more precise basal and bolus rates, thus helping me to keep my blood sugar steady without having to give myself several injections each day. By putting a little bit of thought into my bolus decisions and programming my pump a few times per day, I can eat when I want and be confident in my ability to fine tune my blood sugar whenever the need arises.
3.) Meal planning. I've found that by putting a little bit of thought into the meals I prepare each week, I can significantly impact my blood sugar control. Before we head out for our weekly grocery shopping trip, I decide on our low carbohydrate dinner menus and what I'm going to take for lunch that week. Knowing what I'm going to eat, and how much carbohydrate it contains, really helps me to bolus accurately and keep my blood sugar under control.
Diabetes control should be a top priority for all people with diabetes. Sadly, if we don't give it the time and respect it requires, it'll find a way to demand it. However, my being proactive and efficient in our diabetes management techniques, we can safely put diabetes on the back-burner from time to time while we try to decide how to prioritize all of the other aspects of our busy lives!